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Interview with Raffaele Rialdi

Developer Security MVP | VEVY EUROPE

Tell us a few things about yourself. Where did you study, where do you work?

I studied, worked and still live in Genova, a nice city in the north of Italy, on the Ligurian sea.
When I was young I lived alone and equipped a room as a “Lab” to make electronic and software experiments. It was the time I learned more than any other time in my life. At that time, I also started with small works creating software for DOS and then the first Windows release.
Then I opened a software division within the family company where me and some smart people design and write software.

What is your typical day at work?

I switch my context quite often, so it really depends on the ongoing projects. There are times where I spent all day long at a customer’s site, or in the office writing software, or deal with bureaucratic stuff (which is something I try to avoid as much as I can).
Anyway I spend most of the time designing or writing code which is the best job in the world … isn’t it? 🙂

When I was young I lived alone and equipped a room as a “Lab” to make electronic and software experiments.

And even before reading a (technical) book, it would be extremely beneficial trying to solve the problem alone.

What inspired you to be active in the community?

I love brainstorming with other people. I discovered participating on Usenet that even just answering questions you can learn a lot. The human being normally isn’t able to put in someone’s shoes but even when you are proficient with a topic and you listen to someone’s perspective you discover a new world.
The community is a great way to rapidly evolve our knowledge, raise the bar and face new problems.

Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?

With the wisdom of hindsight, it would be probably too easy. There are many things I wish I knew, but it would be unrealistic.

Could you recommend some books, resources that young IT professionals might find useful?

Nowadays, the greatest suggestion is not to read pre-cooked answers on Internet. And even before reading a (technical) book, it would be extremely beneficial trying to solve the problem alone. I know it’s an expensive task, it takes time and probably impossible to do at work, but the time spent “hacking” the problem was extremely productive for me.
The other suggestion is to try to deep dive the technologies you are learning. Don’t assume going deeper is useless or too hard. Understanding the lower level opens a new world and give you a lot of opportunities. A practical example for young IT professionals in the Windows space is to read carefully the “Windows Internals” book and spend time in experimenting.

What you do to “recharge your batteries”? What are your hobbies? Do you have time for them?

You can believe or not but spend a lot of my free time in … programming. You may say it is boring but I already told you my job is the best of the world…
Anyway when I get kidnapped from my wife and children, we love skiing and I recently started snowboarding with my son.

If you could go back in time and choose a different profession (outside of IT), what would it be?

What a punishment this would be! When I started, the IT job was not on a list of possible jobs. I decided this was my destiny since I was a child and trying to understand how can I make the best of my Sinclair ZX81. If I really have to make a different choice, it would be a technical job … had no idea of what!

What do you think about ITCamp, and what brings you here?

There are many reasons why ITCamp is special. The conference has great technical content with many great speakers talking about many topics I love. The warm participation of the attendees all over these years is something that gives you a lift. There are also a lot of friends is nice to meet in person and have a drink together. Last but not least Cluj is a lovely city I love to walk by.

The warm participation of the attendees all over these years is something that gives you a lift.

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